Palace denies state 'monopoly' on COVID-19 vaccines

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 12 2021 04:49 PM

A nurse prepares a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at an NHS mass coronavirus vaccination center at Epsom Race Course in Epsom, Surrey, Britain Jan. 11, 2021. Dominic Lipinski, Pool/Reuters

MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday said the national government is not building any monopoly on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, after some lawmakers pushed for local governments and private firms to be allowed to deal directly with drug makers.

"Nakakabili po ang mga lokal na pamahalaan ng mga bakuna, pero ang pamamaraan ay dito sa pagpasok nila sa tinatawag nating multilateral agreement for the advanced purchase at ito ay para sa bakuna na AstraZeneca," said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque. 

(Local governments can buy vaccines, but this is through entering what we call a multilateral agreement for the advanced purchase and this is for the AstraZeneca vaccine.)

This deal also involves the national government and the health department, and states that local governments will shoulder the cost of the vaccine and plan its distribution, he told reporters in an online briefing.

"Malinaw na hindi po natin pinagbabawal, walang monopoliya ang national government sa pagbili ng mga bakuna," Roque said. 

(It is clear that we do not ban, the national government has no monopoly on the purchase of vaccines.)

Some local governments last year also signed a supply with the national government and AstraZeneca for 2.6 million doses of the UK drug group's coronavirus vaccine. 

The Philippines has also secured 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from China's Sinovac, and 30 million jabs from the Serum Institute of India, officials said.

With about 489,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections, the Philippines has the second highest number of cases in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.

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